Chemical-mineralogical characterisation of coarse recycled concrete aggregate

Limbachiya, M.C., Marrocchino, E. and Koulouris, A. (2007) Chemical-mineralogical characterisation of coarse recycled concrete aggregate. Waste Management, 27(2), pp. 201-208. ISSN (print) 0956-053X


The construction industry is now putting greater emphasis than ever before on increasing recycling and promoting more sustainable waste management practices. In keeping with this approach, many sectors of the industry have actively sought to encourage the use of recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) as an alternative to primary aggregates in concrete production. The results of a laboratory experimental programme aimed at establishing chemical and mineralogical characteristics of coarse RCA and its likely influence on concrete performance are reported in this paper. Commercially produced coarse RCA and natural aggregates (16-4 mm size fraction) were tested. Results of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyses showed that original source of RCA had a negligible effect on the major elements and a comparable chemical composition between recycled and natural aggregates. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses results indicated the presence of calcite, portlandite and minor peaks of muscovite/illite in recycled aggregates, although they were directly proportioned to their original composition. The influence of 30%, 50%, and 100% coarse RCA on the chemical composition of equal design strength concrete has been established, and its suitability for use in a concrete application has been assessed. In this work, coarse RCA was used as a direct replacement for natural gravel in concrete production. Test results indicated that up to 30% coarse RCA had no effect on the main three oxides (SiO2, Al2O3 and CaO) of concrete, but thereafter there was a marginal decrease in SiO2 and increase in Al2O3 and CaO contents with increase in RCA content in the mix, reflecting the original constituent's composition.

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